Inflated electricity bills: What can be done to provide immediate relief?

Limit of relief for power consumers should be increased from 200 units to 300 units, says Khawaja Asif

Business Desk
Residents of Peshawars Sethi Town burn electricity bill during protest. —INP
Residents of Peshawar's Sethi Town burn electricity bill during protest. —INP

  • Protests continue against inflated power bill.
  • PPP announces to join protesters.
  • PML-N leaders suggest measures to provide relief.

As the masses continue to protest against the inflated power bills, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has suggested some measures to the government to provide immediate relief to the masses.

An emergency meeting convened by interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar to mull options ended inconclusively on Sunday and a second round of consultation would be held today (Monday).

While the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has announced joining ongoing protests against power bills, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders have suggested to the caretakers some options to mitigate the grievances.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was chairman Energy Task Force in the last PDM government, advised the government to deduct 35% of electricity bills right now as an immediate relief and pass on the deducted amount to consumers in staggered form in five months of forthcoming winter season.

“This is the only recipe to provide relief to the people,” he added.

He argued that in the winter season, electricity bills would tumble as the consumption of electricity nosedives to just 10-12k MW as air conditioners and fans that consume maximum electricity will no more in operation.

He also suggested to the people at the helm of affairs that the impact of the first quarterly tariff adjustments (July-September, of FY2023-24) should also be passed on to consumers in the winter season in a staggered form.

Similarly, former defence minister Khawaja Asif voiced his opinion regarding the ever-increasing tariff on electricity.

The PML-N leader took to social networking site X and said that the limit of relief for consumers should be increased from 200 units to 300 units and for this, the IMF should be approached.

He highlighted that the cost of more than Rs200 billion in electricity from Azad Kashmir, ex-Fata and Balochistan was not recovered and more than Rs650 billion worth of electricity was stolen in the whole country.

He highlighted that 70 to 80% of electricity was stolen in big cities and markets.

As a result, he said the common man faced the burden and the concession of free electricity in all government institutions should end.

Asif stressed that the federal government was paying more than Rs900 billion to the power sector to cover subsidy, theft, underpayment and line losses mentioning that it could be used to provide cheap electricity to common consumers.